Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An orderly resurrection

Regarding resurrection, are the firstfruits mentioned in I Corinthians the same as the 144,000 in Revelation?  What is meant by the phrase ‘every man in his own order?’

1 Corinthians 15:23

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

Revelation 14:1, 3, 4

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

Paul keeps the firstfruits in 1 Corinthians 15 in the context of our dispensation.  But, the firstfruits principle applies to both his  coming (aka appearing [2 Timothy 4:1]) for the body of Christ at the rapture, and his Second Coming to Israel.

Paul uses that word ‘come’ to refer to the Lord’s return for his Body at the Rapture.

1 Corinthians 1:7; 11:26

So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

1 Thessalonians 3:13; 5:23

To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.


And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


2 Thessalonians 2:1

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

So Paul uses the term ‘the coming of our Lord’ to describe the Rapture.  In the direct context this is what I Corinthians 15:23 is referring to.  But the same principle will be applied to the Second Coming to Israel.

Regarding the phrase ‘every man in his own order,’ notice that the colon follows ‘order.’  He is giving the order of the resurrection.  He was the first one to be raised from the dead (never to die again).

1 Corinthians 15:23

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

He’s talking about our resurrected bodies.  Christ got his first; then we all get ours – the dead in Christ first (those who were already dead at the time of the Rapture), then those of us who are alive and remain.


1 Thessalonians 4:15

For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

Unless he is specifically talking about the future as in 2 Thessalonians, Paul is talking about things pertaining to the body of Christ, even though the same principle applies to the Lord’s second coming to Israel.  There are some similarities between the two programs—these would  be inter-dispensational principles).

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Paul also talks about the firstfruits of the Spirit.

Romans 8:23

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

One of the reasons God gave us his Spirit is to be the earnest of our inheritance:

Ephesians 1:14

Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

He is like a down payment – earnest money.  The Holy Spirit is the earnest money, guaranteeing that we will receive our physical bodies that will be changed to be incorruptible and immortal like the Lord’s:

1 Corinthians 15:51-53

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changedIn a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

And he is our guarantee of our inheritance in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 1:14

Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Christ got his new body already, we get ours at his coming (the Rapture); even Israel will get their new bodies in the Kingdom when he comes back the second time for them.

So the whole context and point of 1 Corinthians 15 is the resurrection of the physical body at the Rapture even though the description will apply to Israel at the second coming.

Look at verse 26:

1 Corinthians 15:26, 55

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

At the Rapture, physical death will be a thing of the past for the Body of Christ.  No member of the body of Christ will die again.  That’s not true for Israel.  Death (of humans) won’t be destroyed in the prophetic Kingdom program until the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ.

Revelation 20:12-14

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

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